By Subroto Roy
Founder and chairman of the London-based Global Alliance for Tibet and Persecuted Minorities (GATPM), Tsering Passang has urged major democracies including India, the United Kingdom and the United States to recognize the central Tibetan administration based in Dharamsala as the “incumbent Tibetan government”. Exile” and its overseas agencies (Tibet offices) as embassies in their own right. This, he said, will give the Tibetan people the much-needed footing to participate in “international platforms like the UN Human Rights Council and the WHO.”
Currently, Tibet is under the illegal occupation of the People’s Republic of China and has no representation at the United Nations. The Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) has representative offices in 13 countries. These offices act as de facto CTA embassies and are based in New Delhi, India; Kathmandu, Nepal; Washington DC, USA; Geneva, Switzerland; Tokyo, Japan; London, UK; Brussels, Belgium; Canberra, Australia; Paris, France; Moscow, Russia; Pretoria, South Africa; Taipei, Taiwan and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“A full embassy status would help us take our peaceful struggle for freedom to the next level,” Passang said.
Passang was speaking to the reporter as a curtain raiser for the 63rd anniversary of National Tibetan Uprising Day which will be celebrated around the world on March 10. The GATPM and Tibetans in the UK will demonstrate in front of the Chinese Embassy and its consulates. “But due to the Covid pandemic and the fear of a Chinese reaction against the families who remained in Tibet, the participation unfortunately decreased,” he lamented.
On this day in 1959, tens of thousands of Tibetans had gathered around Norbulingka (the summer palace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in Lhasa) to revolt, in defiance of the Chinese invasion which took place in 1949 and to protect their spiritual life. chief. This peaceful protest was violently crushed by Chinese PLA troops soon after the Dalai Lama fled Tibet into exile in India.
I should note here that while India has boldly demonstrated its practical help on the ground by inviting Tibetans to live in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh and installing their government in exile, while facilitating the education of young children as well as preservation of their unique culture, the international powers in place must do much more than has already been done. The minimum that can be done to help Tibet regain its former glory is to facilitate and declare its representative offices abroad (Tibet Offices) as embassies in their own right.
Although it may seem like a long time in a lifetime that Tibet has not been liberated for more than six decades, Passang thinks the time is not too long considering it is a struggle for freedom. of a nation. “After HH the Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Tibetan issue attracted greater attention from the international community. European countries and the United States have recognized our just and peaceful struggle for freedom,” he said.
However, he agreed that much needs to be done “peacefully without the loss of a single life on the Chinese, Indian or Tibetan side”, considering that Tibetans believe in a peaceful resolution as advocated by their spiritual leader H.H. the Dalai Lama, a champion of peace and non-violence. “We know that there are tens of thousands of armed soldiers with military equipment installations on the borders of China-occupied Tibet and India. A little misunderstanding on either side can lead to something Tibetans don’t want on all sides,” he warned.
In fact, Passang is of the view that the Chinese, Indian and Tibetan sides should all sit down and work out a peace plan for the benefit of all. “Restoring Tibet as a buffer zone between the two great countries can defuse tension while respecting and satisfying the interests of all parties involved. This is exactly what His Holiness the Dalai Lama proposed in his ‘Middle Way’ approach,” he said.
Despite this suggestion, Passang distrusted the Chinese regime. “It is also high time that Tibetans can participate in major international forums, at the human level, say, the UN Human Rights Council and the WHO,” he added.
“China has been weakened due to the Covid-19 pandemic which originated in its laboratory in Wuhan. Nearly 6 million people have died as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of unprecedented levels of disruption around the world. The good thing that has come out of this pandemic is that the international community has realized what China is capable of. Passang referred to the global Covid pandemic.
China developed with the support of the West and today the United States recognizes the Frankenstine that they and Europe created. According to Passang, “It is clear that Western democratic and liberal values are in direct conflict with the Chinese regime’s closed society and its brutal repressions. Earlier hopes by some Western political and business leaders that China would become a more liberal society after achieving a certain level of economic development have proven completely false. Major US-led democracies are now reversing what has been done for the past four decades and allocating a huge amount of funds to counter China’s growing expansionism as it threatens their core democratic principles and liberal values. .
It is time for all these communities persecuted by the Chinese regime to come together and fight in unity. “Uyghurs, Tibetans, Southern Mongols, Hong Kong and maybe Taiwan must unite in the fight for freedom from China,” Passang said.
China’s expansionism in Tibet has been motivated by strategic and economic reasons. “China is grabbing all the natural resources available in Tibet, including unpolluted waters that would otherwise flow to southern countries,” he revealed.
The main rivers that descend from Tibet are the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra in India), the Machu (Yellow River in China), the Drichu (Yangtse in China), the Senge Khabab (Indus in India), the Phungchu (Arun in India) , the Gyalmo Ngulchu (Salween in Burma) and Zachu (Mekong in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos), which makes the country a source of water for many countries. But if China violates other countries’ right to natural resources like water, “they must protest together”, according to Passang,
Passang also argued that diverting the natural course of Tibet’s rivers to China’s hinterland is against human rights and a “selfish act” by China and should be addressed by countries to the south. It should be noted that India’s holiest lake, ‘Manasarovar’, and the most important pilgrimage site, ‘Kailash’, are both located in Chinese-occupied Tibet.
Tibet is located 4,000 meters or 13,000 feet above sea level and has an area of 2.5 million square kilometers, which includes the provinces of U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo. The “Tibet Autonomous Region”, consisting of U-Tsang and a small part of Kham, covers 1.2 million square kilometers. Most of Tibet lies outside the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The total Tibetan population in Tibet is 6 million. Among them, 2.09 million live in the TAR and the rest in the Tibetan areas outside.
If China is allowed to do what it wants with Tibet’s natural resources, one can imagine what could happen to Manasarovar and Kailash. The fear of cultural genocide is real. It was reported on February 11 that China had recently destroyed monasteries, centers of learning for Tibetan Buddhists. He violently obliterated Buddhist statues and monastic schools in Kham Drango, eastern Tibet. Sikyong Penpa Tsering and the 16th Kashag had thanked the Super Samgha, an association of Japanese monks for their solidarity in condemning China.
“Under the ‘middle way’ approach of HH the Dalai Lama, Tibetans do not seek independence. Keeping Tibetan Buddhist culture and civilization alive is the main goal,” said Passang, for whom a conducive atmosphere of “peace is needed.” Following in the footsteps of HH the Dalai Lama, Passang and his fellow Tibetans avoid a violent confrontational approach. “But the world must take serious note and reward the champions of peace,” he added.
“History shows that great empires crumble. We know that the Roman, British, American and European empires all collapsed,” Passang observed, insinuating that China was no exception. He was answering a question whether the balkanization of China was imminent or not.
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